- Result: Galwegians Firsts 3 - Corinthians 23
- Venue: Crowley Park on Fri Dec 3rd 2021
- Competition: AIL Division 2B
GALWAY Corinthians moved to third in the Energia League Division 2B following a hard fought win over Galwegians in Crowley Park on Friday Night.
The final score may suggest an easy win for Corinthians. It was anything but. In very difficult conditions with driving rain at times, Galwegians put up an incredible fight and this game was not settled until late in the second half when Cathal Forde touched down with just six minutes remaining.
Up to that point, the game was finely balanced with both teams getting chances, especially in the second 40 minutes and Galwegians can count themselves unlucky that they did not score in the second half.
Like all local derbies, the opening minutes were more like a chess match than a rugby game as both teams tested each other defensively. It was possible that an opening score would come from simply taking a chance on nothing and that is what Corinthians did. A Galwegians line out was fed out but the resulting clearance was blocked and scrum half Matthew Devine didn’t need to be told twice as he touched down. Forde converted and Corinthians were seven points to the good.
Galwegians had to respond and with their captain Kieran Downey leading the charge could have hit back almost immediately. Brian McSweeney and Diarmuid Kilgallen combined and made the guts of 40 metres before being tagged back and with Galwegians having a slight upper hand in the forward play, it took some excellent defending from the Corinthians backs to deny them a score.
It would be the 21st minute before another score would go on the board. In the meantime, Corinthians would lose hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin to a hamstring injury meaning a much earlier than expected introduction for Javier Sanchis who received a warm welcome from the Galwegians pack as Corinthians were driven back in the scrum. But nothing came from it and when Wegians were harshly penalised for collapsing a scrum when they were driving forward at a rate of knots, the visitors took their opportunity. The unerring Cathal Forde made no mistake with another penalty after the referee spotted an infringement in play inside the home side’s 22.
Another Forde penalty with ten minutes remaining in the half had Corinthians thirteen points to the good, but these scores were hard earned as Galwegians pushed forward looking for every chance they could get. One such moment came seven minutes from the break when the impressive Matt Dever broke two challenges and fed to scrum-half Kelvin Langan. In the resulting play a penalty was awarded and Conor O’Shaughnessy kicked the points from near halfway to leave ten points between the sides at the break.
The half time conversations were sure to be interesting on both sides and with the rain now hitting biblical levels, the opening five minutes of the second half were to be interesting too. Ben McGuinness made a lung bursting run that brought him metres from the Corinthians line and were it not for some spectacular tackles from the Corinthians defence, they could and really should have crossed over. Man of the Match Forde was sin-binned shortly afterwards when defending his line, but the Blues were unable to convert and the visitors relieved the pressure.
With Forde off, the Corinthians kicking responsibilities fell to Mark McDermott and while he missed his first effort, his second was successful and with their pack now fronting up physically, it made for an exciting last half an hour.
Conditions were deteriorating at this stage and Corinthians were starting to gain an upper hand. However, real chances were becoming few and far between as the game became fractious. The moment that would seal the victory for the visitors would not come until near the end and again it would come from a Galwegians line out. An overthrow was collected by Javier Sanchis who brought the ball into contact. Devine was fast with his hands and played Forde who found a gap and dived under the posts. The conversion was good and with it any chance of a Galwegians comeback.
So another very disappointing reverse for Galwegians, and next up they have a crucial game away to Sligo where they will hope to stop the rot and start winning games to avoid the prospect of relegation to Division 2C.